Professor Jeffrey Henderson & Paul Dorfman Energy lies at the heart of every modern economy – without power, nothing. And a working moral compass is the signature of a functioning democracy – without scruples, we lose our way. For good or ill, the issues of energy and morality are now coalescing in a high-consequence game being played out by the UK and Chinese governments. Enforcing China’s draconian national security law in Hong Kong has outraged people and governments around the world. So far, the UK’s response is welcome, but doesn’t begin to match the enormity of the problem. Individually and in concert with others alarmed by the prospect of a global future influenced by a Chinese State that, under Xi Jinping, has intensified its penchant for extreme command and control, the British government needs to be examining ways that could help draw a “line in the sand”. One of these would have the dual advantage of sending a clear message to the present Chinese regime without threatening Chinese workers’ jobs and saving British taxpayers billions of pounds: namely, dialling back from further Chinese state involvement in new UK nuclear power. While Hinkley C may be too far advanced to stop, cancellation of the Sizewell and Bradwell projects would send a very strong signal to president Xi that trashing the human rights norms of the liberal international order cannot be tolerated. It would also eliminate the security threats that CGN poses if it is allowed to participate in such a strategically vital industry as power supply. The events in Hong Kong provide an opening for governments to underline for China’s rulers what constitutes acceptable human rights behaviour. In blocking further Chinese participation in new nuclear energy, the British government has an opportunity to both demonstrate that, post-Brexit, it is still a global player and, in the process, save billions in taxpayers’ money.
Telegraph 10th July 2020 read more »
I strongly recommend online reading of a recent paper by the Royal United Services Institute’s Charles Parton, a British former diplomat of great experience working in and on China: “Towards a UK strategy and policies for relations with China” was written for the Policy Institute at King’s College, London. In Mr Parton’s own words, we must “understand, prepare, resource and unite”. “Prepare” by assembling a cross-government structure and cross-government strategy for implementing it: Huawei, 5G, spying, nuclear power; diplomatic relations, students from China, immigration from Hong Kong, investment here by China; each may appear a matter for a different government department. One structure must cover all. “Unite”, however, seems to me so much the greatest imperative. We must not leave Australia to swing for standing up to Beijing; Germany and the EU must not leave us to swing for reeling back our relationship with Huawei. The world will need a trade union-style resolve to hang together lest we hang separately. Not only do I not despair of achieving this (the West more or less achieved it towards the USSR) but I think Britain is well placed to help lead. We do these things well when we try: look at the solidarity against Russia that Boris Johnson secured as foreign secretary after the Salisbury poisonings.
Times 10th July 2020 read more »